Causes of Gasoline Smell in a Car: How to Identify and Address Them
May 6, 2019
BY WARREN CLARKE / ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED APRIL 29, 2018 / NATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE PARTS ASSOCIATION /
Do you smell gas in your vehicle when you’re behind the wheel? There are many causes of gasoline smell in a car, and some of these are minor. However, in some cases, this smell could be triggered by a major issue that calls for vehicle repair.
Let’s take a look at both the minor and major issues that could leave your car’s cabin smelling like gasoline.
- Refueling. If you notice the smell of gas right after refueling, the fumes may have made their way into the cabin during your fill-up. If refueling is the cause, the odor should dissipate after several minutes.
- Loose gas cap. A loose gas cap can cause fumes to waft through your car’s cabin. Tightening the gas cap should solve the problem. If it’s impossible to tighten the cap, it may need to be replaced.
- Gas on hands or clothes. If you inadvertently got gas on your hands or clothes while refueling, the smell will linger in the cabin. The smell should go away once you’ve washed your hands or entered the car in a fresh set of clothes.
Major Issues That Warrant Vehicle Repair
- Fuel tank leak. A fuel tank leak may leave your car’s cabin smelling like gas. If you have a leaky tank, you’ll likely notice puddles of gas underneath the car when it’s parked. A mechanic will be able to handle the repair.
- Fuel line leak. Your car’s engine needs fuel to generate power. The vehicle’s fuel lines are responsible for transporting gas from the tank to the engine, and they may develop leaks due to age, wear or corrosion. A leaky line may cause your car’s cabin to smell like gasoline, and it should be immediately repaired. The leak may cause gas to make contact with a hot engine component, and this could start a fire.
- Fuel injector leak. Your car’s fuel injectors send pressurized gasoline into the engine cylinders or intake manifold. The injectors are fitted with rubber seals that are designed to guard against fuel leaks. Age and wear can degrade these seals, and this could result in a fuel leak. To remedy this situation, a mechanic may need to replace just the seals or the entire set of fuel injectors.
- Engine using excessive amounts of fuel. If a problem is causing your car’s engine to use excessive amounts of fuel, you may smell gas in the cabin. With older cars, this issue may be caused by the carburetor. With newer cars that use a fuel-injection system, this issue may be triggered by a problem with the vehicle’s engine computer or fuel regulator. A mechanic will be able to address this issue.
When it comes to odd car smells, like the scent of gas in your car’s cabin, it’s important to identify the cause. This odor can be triggered by minor problems, but it may also be caused by a major issue that warrants prompt repair. There are many causes of gasoline smell in a car, and all of them should be addressed before a larger issue arises.
Check out all the fuel & emission system parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of their 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on fuel pump failure, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo Credit: Pomona Swap Meet
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